Credit Clean-Up Tips to Get Your Kids Ready for College [PODCAST 23]

Dive into the intricacies of debt, credit and college costs in this latest podcast episode, which includes tips and tricks for maximizing financial lessons for children in their teens and early twenties. 

In this Retirement Readiness episode, hosts Tim Regan and Katie Umland delve into the topic of financial education for children and young adults – especially those quickly approaching their college years. They emphasize the importance of teaching kids about money early on and providing them with the necessary tools to navigate the financial world. 

Parents will see a return on investment with those lessons as well, as the more financially savvy children are, the less likely parents will have to sacrifice their retirement funds later in life to help them with money problems.

One key strategy Regan suggests is to add children as signers on the parents’ credit cards. This approach allows parents to monitor and guide their children’s spending habits while also helping them build credit from a young age. It can also be more convenient for the parents:

“I don’t want to be playing bank every time I need them to stop and get milk,” Regan explains.

Another option is to introduce credit cards specifically tailored for young adults, such as store credit cards like Target cards, which typically have low limits. These cards not only enable young individuals to make necessary purchases but also serve as an opportunity to develop responsible credit usage and build a positive credit history. Those lessons in credit become especially important during college years, as both parents and children have access to large amounts of borrowing options for education expenses.

By instilling a solid foundation of financial knowledge and teaching practical money management skills to children, parents can empower them to make informed financial decisions in adulthood. Both Regan and Umland stress that starting early, providing hands-on experience and fostering open conversations about money are key elements in preparing the younger generation to navigate the complex financial landscape successfully.

Listen to the full episode for more tips, or check out our other episodes for more information on preparing for retirement. 

Key Timestamps

  • 00:01:32 – Parents can add their children as signers on their credit cards to build credit history for them and teach them good financial habits.
  • 00:08:37 –  How to set parameters to prevent overborrowing and sacrificing their retirement. Just because students can borrow unlimited amounts of money for college doesn’t mean they should.
  • 00:12:28 – How to make good choices leading up to and after the college decision to avoid sacrificing your retirement.
  • 00:13:36 – How to manage finances carefully by making good money decisions, not getting overloaded in debt, and being smart with how you fill out financial aid forms.
  • 00:16:43 – The decisions made in the decade from 20 to 30 can have a significant impact on long-term financial security. 
  • 00:18:11 – Understanding how student loans work is essential to avoid frustration and save money.
  • 00:19:47 – The end of college is a crucial time for transitioning into the next phase of life. Parents may need to shift their focus and make sure their children are prepared to make good decisions about finances.

 Key Takeaways

  1. Introducing children to credit cards at a young age can help them build credit history and learn financial responsibility.
  2. Managing debt and financial obligations can impact financial aid eligibility, so it’s important to consider the long-term implications when making college decisions.
  3. The decisions made in the decade from 20-30 can have a significant impact on long-term financial security. Starting off on the right foot, such as saving money early on, can carry someone well into the future. On the other hand, accumulating debt can be extremely challenging to overcome.


  1. PrairieView Wealth
  2. PrairieView’s Youtube

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